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Learn about a host of diabetes-related topics such as how many Americans suffer from this disease to how to easily adjust to a new diet after diagnoses. This section will provide you with the information you need to make informed dietary decisions regarding diabetes.

Understanding Borderline Diabetes: Signs, Symptoms and Prevention

One out of every three Americans are living with borderline diabetes. However, taking charge on weight and borderline diabetes can diminish the risk of becoming diagnosed with diabetes later down the road. Understand borderline diabetes by identifying signs and symptoms and implementing preventative measures!

Understanding Borderline Diabetes: Signs, Symptoms and Prevention

One out of every three Americans is living with diabetes. And the number is only expected to grow, especially as obesity rates continue to rise.

But by taking charge of weight and borderline diabetes, you can lower the risk of being diagnosed with diabetes later down the road.

Learn how to identify symptoms of prediabetes and the preventative measures to help deter a diabetes diagnosis, including a diet for prediabetes.

What is Borderline Diabetes?

Borderline diabetes, also known as prediabetes, can be thought as a warning sign leading up to diabetes. In this occurrence, individuals start to experience higher glucose levels, though not high enough for a true diabetes diagnosis.

Diabetes is a condition that describes insufficient use or absence of insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas responsible for assisting glucose to enter the body's cells from the bloodstream following carbohydrate ingestion. When insulin is ineffective, glucose remains in the blood – hence why pre- and diagnosed diabetics may experience high blood glucose or sugar levels, also known as hyperglycemia.

Below differentiates between normal, prediabetes, and diabetes levels based on three blood tests, valued as milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL):

Fasting Plasma Glucose Test

Individuals taking the fasting plasma glucose test are the fasted state, or absent of food intake for eight hours. It is generally performed after an overnight fast.

• Normal: Less than 100 or encouraged to be within 70 and 100
• Prediabetes: 100 to 125
• Diabetes: Greater than 126

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

The oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) starts by taking the fasting test mentioned above. A sugary, or glucose, beverage will be consumed and a blood test will be taken two hours later.

• Normal: Less than 140
• Prediabetes: 140 to 199
• Diabetes: Greater than 200

Hemoglobin A1C

Also known as glycated hemoglobin, average blood sugar, and HbA1C, this diabetes diagnostic test measures average blood sugar up to three months.

• Normal: 5.6% or less
• Prediabetes: 5.7 to 6.4%
• Diabetes: 6.5% or greater

Borderline Diabetes Symptoms and Risk Factors

Symptoms of Prediabetes

Symptoms of prediabetes are difficult to identify, as they are unlikely and oftentimes absent. In fact, a mere 10 percent of individuals with prediabetes even know they have the condition.

However, one possible sign that you may be at risk of type 2 diabetes is darkened skin on certain parts of the body, including on the neck, armpits, elbows, knees and knuckles. Some individuals with prediabetes may experience classic signs and symptoms of diabetes, including:

• Increased Thirst (Polydipsia)
• Increased Urination
• Blurred Vision
• Energy Loss (Fatigue)

Prediabetes Risk Factors

Though discouraging to not exhibit the signs and symptoms, risk factors can provide some sort of identifying pathway to diabetes and include:

• Overweight and Obesity
Carrying extra weight is a serious risk factor for developing diabetes. Based on body mass index (BMI), a BMI over 25 is considered overweight while a BMI over 30 is classified as obese. However, using BMI is controversial, as a number of factors are not taken into consideration (age, gender, muscle mass, etc.). Using waist circumference (WC) can further guide an unhealthy weight status, as a WC over 40 inches in males and over 35 inches in females increases diabetes risk.

• Family History
Having a family history or a genetic predisposition increases the risk of being overweight and developing diabetes.

• Age
Specifically, individuals aged 45 years or older are at an increased risk for diabetes development.

• Race
Some races and ethnicities increases diabetes risk and include African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian-American, and Pacific Islander.

• Certain Health Conditions
There are a number of health conditions that can increase the risk of diabetes, including polycystic ovary syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea. Women with gestational diabetes, or the development of diabetes during pregnancy, or who birth a baby over nine pounds increase their risk of a future diabetes diagnosis. Hypertension (high blood pressure) and hyperlipidemia (high lipids) are also associated to prediabetes.

Preventing Borderline Diabetes

Developing diabetes does not have to be the end result, as prediabetes poses as an opportunity to reverse a full-blown diagnosis. Preventative measures can reduce the risk of diabetes, particularly with a prediabetes diet, regular exercise, weight loss, and other lifestyle modifications.

A Prediabetes Diet

The best diet for prediabetes is essentially a healthy, balanced diet that helps control blood sugars. A prediabetes diet focuses on whole grains, fresh produce, lean and plant-based proteins and encourages individuals to reduce sweets and packaged convenience foods and snacks.

If needing or desiring meal assistance, bistroMD offers well-balanced meals to help control diabetes. bistroMD works by:

• Providing nutritionally and scientifically-balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner entrees delivered to doorsteps.
• Customizing nutritional needs from an extensive menu of entrees, most 25 net grams of carbs or less.
• Supplying adequate lean protein your body needs to regulate blood sugar.
• Offering individualized support during every step of your journey to wellness, including Registered Dietitians that will plan your diabetic-friendly weekly menu.

Regular Exercise

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Not only does exercise manage weight, but uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.

Especially if new to exercise, begin slowly and increase activity in small increments. Ultimately, any movement is better than doing without, so swap the television for a walk with family after dinner, make it an effort to wake up earlier for a quick morning workout, and take advantage of your lunch break and walk.

Weight Loss

The combination of a diet for prediabetes filled with nourishing foods and regular exercise may facilitate weight loss, a significant factor for reducing diabetes risk. Research suggests you can cut the risk by more than half by losing seven percent of body weight!

If those numbers seem unattainable, start small. Losing even some weight is beneficial not only for decreasing diabetes risk, but for improving overall health. And with bistroMD, you can achieve your weight loss goals whilst ensuring adequate intake of essential nutrients.

Additional Preventative Measures

Additional preventative measures include sleeping seven to nine hours of sleep nightly and managing stress.

Controlling blood pressure and cholesterol can also protect from a diabetes diagnosis, while regularly meeting with a primary care provider is advised to develop a safe and customized plan to best suit individual needs and health concerns.

Sydney Lappe's Photo
Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on May 22, 2017. Updated on May 13, 2019.


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